Sunday, July 23, 2006

Excerpted from novel in progress

I know what I am and it terrifies me. My skin is a bark around my subdermal layers, a bark through which light passes and burns me. I am full of water. I am aging. My age is passing through me. The light and the air are burning me. I cannot believe in my own happiness, my happiness is as the bony branches of the oak tree scraping the window when the wind blows and I can talk about none of this. Or can I? Am I just afraid to?

My mother has rested on the toilet and shat four times today. She is ill. She is eating too many harsh foods, too many cheeses—I hear the sound of her shitting echoing through the house.

David’s dog was eating a corpse yesterday, over on Buckburn Terrace.

In the woods, in the summer, the light, everything you see, is the same for miles. I walked for four hours and the whole time the air smelled the same.

When I visited Will, when I was very young, when my skin and the organs beneath it were not as marked by the sun, we walked down a finger of land—it was more like an arm—that stretched out into the Pacific ocean for seven miles and was famous, or relatively famous, so Will’s guidebook said, for the two herds of a rare breed of Elk that lived on it, and I noticed, it was impossible not to notice, that within every one hundred yards you walked, you passed close to what must have been the average per ten feet of bits of scat—coyote? Fox?—rabbits, crows, falcons, enormous beetles, sand, strange and gnarled bushes. That might have been my first ever desolate moment. The world is full of wondrous things, but we are punished with anxiousness by our incapacity to honor its wonder, to have to speak not of what we see, but of love, and redemption, and honor, and goodness.

2 comments:

Andrew said...

Hi Tim,

This is fantastic; I love the first paragraph, so strange. Which part of the novel is this from? It seems like an opening, but the whole thing could stand by itself as a kind of elliptical chapter.

I regret not properly reading your short story now. I'll try and go back to it - I'm going to be involved in a writing group, hopefully. It would be great if I had something to share with you too...

timothyfrancis said...

Share something with me, andrew. In answer to your question, I'm not sure. Technically, it's from the protagonist's younger sister's journal. It probably won't make it into the final draft, as the thing originally ended with a lengthy sequence in which the protag is with his family, and I anticipate that I will want to take out almost all of that.